Friday, May 26, 2017

Day 18 and 19: Still Here!

Yesterday was a sad day. I had to say goodbye to Dana and Jess as they headed back home. They both did one last night shift, Dana helping with her last lambing, packed and said their goodbyes. Even though the day before I accidentally rubbed mint udder cream into my eye and was blinded for a while (the nice tingling that is supposed to happen is more of an excruciating burn when in the eye), they still let me drive them to the airport. Once the were on their way to their plane I went to a coffee shop in Reykjavík to get some lunch, coffee, and process what it was going to be like without them. When I arrived back to Hestur there was a rainbow. To each their own on the symbolism, but Snædís likes to think it was a "welcome home" rainbow.
I took the night shift that night to watch on our pregnant girls as well as take care of our orphans (names have yet to be set, suggestions?) and a peculiar little lamb that I am calling Pug. This was the last lamb Dana assisted with before she left and it was fitting because she shares a striking resemblance to her dog, Moo. She has an underdeveloped upper jaw. Her nose is there, as well as her dental plate and works just fine, it just looks like she was smooshed while in the womb. The reason why we need to check on her about every hour is that she struggles to nurse having little to no upper jaw. She has the motivation but struggles to latch on. If she is not successful with nursing she will not be able to go outside with her mom and brother. For now, we will continue working with her until she is able to nurse on her own.
Pug when she was first born

Pug at 2 days old in a milk coma
As for our orphans, they are coming around to human contact. Given that there are so many ewes that lamb out here, if the ewe has no issues and the lambs have no issues, then they get minimal human contact while in the barn and are released onto the pasture when old enough. These orphans had the minimal human contact and were not only scared because they lost their mother but plucked from the pasture by Helgi and Dana and put back in the barn. It has only been a few days and they are already loving cheek and chest scratches and lots of attention.
Little ram lamb enjoying scratches

Both orphans watching me prepare their bottle
The are both about a month old, so they are eating hay and grain but they still get to enjoy a bottle about 3X a day. Here they let the mother's wean their lambs on their own given they are up in the mountains for the duration of the summer. 
As the lambs get older they are moved to larger areas to help them to learn how to stick by mom for when they are brought to the mountains and need to fend for themselves. Many of the ewes are in fields that surround the barn and house. Some ewes are not keen on being just on pasture and will find any way to get back into the barn and look for grain. This morning I had a scare because while I was dismantling some of the lambing jugs in the barn by myself, I heard heavy breathing right behind me. I quickly turned to see two ewes and their lambs with their necks stretched out looking at my pockets as if to say, "grain?". I quickly herded them back to the fields to their dismay and made sure all gates were closed. 
Do you know who else is in the fields around the house and barn? Steeevee! He, his brother and mom are out mixed with about 200 ewes and their lambs in a wide expanse of fields and almost impossible to find. Whenever I have to walk from the barn to the house, I walk a bit slower hoping that he will see me and want to visit. Dana was the last one to see him. She had hurt her ankle that day and was making her way back to the house to ice it and Steve was there in the walkway to get in a quick snuggle with her and then get back to mom. So we agreed that Steve will appear when you really need him. 

So many fields!
Human Steve has made a reappearance (coincidentally the day after Dana and Jess left.... interesting) and has given me a break from power washing by doing it himself, so I get to spend my days monitoring the pregnant ewes, making sure the older lambs and ewes are comfortable in the middle and old barn and slowly dismantling the no longer needed lambing jugs. On that note, my lunch break is about done. 
Until tomorrow! 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the update, Grace! We look forward to your return, since Brenda needs you and so do the sheep here... Hang in there! Anne